PATA Announces Grand and Gold Award Winners 2019

This article was originally published on

BANGKOK, July 15, 2019 -- Winners of the 2019 PATA Grand and Gold Awards are announced today by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). GLP Films’ Founder and Chief Strategist, Rob Holmes, served on the official judging committee for the prestigious awards.

These awards, generously supported and sponsored since 1995 by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), this year recognise the achievements of 27 separate organisations and individuals.

The 2019 PATA Gold Awards Dinner and Award Presentation takes place in Nur-Sultan (Astana), Kazakhstan on Thursday, September 19 during PATA Travel Mart 2019. The 33 Grand and Gold Awards will be presented to such organisations as Borneo Eco Tours, Malaysia; Cox & Kings Limited, India; Elephant Hills Co., Ltd, Thailand; Hotel ICON, Hong Kong SAR; IECD, ASSET-H&C, Thailand; Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong SAR; Macao Government Tourism Office; Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Macao, China; Ministry of Tourism, Government of India; Palau Visitors Authority; Sarawak Tourism, Malaysia; SriLankan Airlines Ltd; Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Chinese Taipei; The Travel World, Bangladesh; Tourism Authority of Thailand, and YANNA Ventures, Thailand.

This year’s awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide. The winners were selected by an independent judging committee.

Ms Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office said, “It is refreshing to see the talent displayed by the PATA Gold Awards 2019 winners, which I warmly congratulate. The outstanding initiatives of the winning organizations and individuals hold the power to generate positive change in tourism practices in the Asia Pacific. By helping PATA set up this stage to showcase some of the best projects in the region each year, we believe that we are influencing the tourism industry towards a more innovative and sustainable path, including back home in Macao, where tourism is a core industry of our city.”

“On behalf of PATA, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to all the 2019 Grand and Gold Award winners, as well as all of this year’s participants for their submissions. I look forward to celebrating the accomplishment of this year’s winners who truly represent the values of the Association in working towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region,” added PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “In addition, I would also like to once again thank MGTO for their valuable support and cooperation towards this mission.”

The PATA Grand Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment, and Heritage and Culture.

PATA Gold Awards.png

IECD (Institut Européen de Coopération et de Développement), ASSET-H&C, Thailand will receive the 2019 PATA Grand Award for Education and Training for its ‘Association of Southeast Asian Social Enterprises for Training in Hospitality and Catering (ASSET-H&C)’ initiative. ASSET-H&C is a regional network that brings together vocational training centres willing to work hand in hand to better fulfil their common social mission: bringing positive change in the lives of vulnerable youth and adults by teaching them tourism and hospitality skills that will allow them to successfully integrate into the job market and society. The network currently gathers 14 member-schools across Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 2019 PATA Grand Award for Environment award will be presented to Elephant Hills Co., Ltd, Thailand for Elephant Hills, Thailand’s First Luxury Tented Jungle Camps. Elephant Hills offers soft nature adventure tours in the beautiful Khao Sok National Park, with unique Elephant Experiences provided through responsible interactions with the endangered Asian elephants, where no riding is allowed and there are no chains involved. Various other projects include an Elephant Conservation Project, Children’s Project, and Wildlife Monitoring Project. They also organise a smaller project called CO2 offset which allows them to seek ways of reducing their carbon footprint.

The 2019 PATA Grand Award for Heritage and Culture Award will be awarded to Sahapedia, India for its ‘India Heritage Walks’. India Heritage Walks aims to make heritage and culture tourism more holistic and inclusive. The purpose is to generate interest amongst the travellers as well the local population to discover the city, its streets, its people and the stories of its colonies, ruins, mainstays and migrants. These efforts have also been especially directed towards those groups for whom engagement programmes in heritage tourism are commonly unavailable, such as children, persons with disabilities, and those from economically underprivileged backgrounds, for instance. Since its inception in November 2016, India Heritage Walks has spread to 60 cities across India. These heritage walks cover varied aspects of our cultural and natural heritage. Ranging from walks exploring markets, monuments and museums, to natural landscapes and regional cuisine, India Heritage Walks are curated thematically, making it an ideal resource for travellers and heritage enthusiasts as well.

The 2019 PATA Grand Award for Marketing Award will also be presented to the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) for its ‘Experience Macao Food Truck USA’ campaign. In order to promote its distinct and delicious cuisine, MGTO-USA decided to host a one-of-a-kind experience: the Experience Macao Food Truck. From May 29 - June 2, 2018, MGTO- USA provided Los Angeles residents a taste of Macao, both literally and figuratively. Through samples of savoury pork chop buns and sweet egg tarts, twice-daily lion dance performances, and information on Macao - centric travel packages, MGTO-USA was able to transport patrons to the destination, all without having them have to step on a plane. Promotion included paid media, earned PR placements, and private events for trade and media.


  1. Ms Ann Moey, Regional Communications Manager, IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Thailand

  2. Ms Antje Martins, PhD Student, Associate Lecturer, University of Queensland, Business School, Tourism Discipline, Australia

  3. Mr. Atthawet Prougestaporn, Acting Rector, Dusit Thani College, Thailand

  4. Mr. David Fiedler, Founder, Singular Foundry, USA

  5. Mr. Frankie Ho, President, International Business, iClick Interactive Asia Limited, Hong Kong SAR

  6. Mr. Khem Lakai, CEO, Global Academy of Tourism & Hospitality Education (GATE), Nepal

  7. Ms Melissa Burckhardt, Global Product Manager for Travel & Hospitality APAC, SGS Group Management Ltd., Thailand

  8. Mr. Nobutaka Ishikure, Chairman, Goltz et ses amis, Japan

  9. Ms Raya Bidshahri, Founder & CEO, Awecademy, Canada

  10. Mr. Richard Cogswell, Commercial Director – APAC, WEX Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore

  11. Mr. Rob Holmes, Founder & Chief Strategist, GLP Films, USA

  12. Ms Stephanie A Wells, Chair, School of Tourism Management, Capilano University, Canada

  13. Prof. Stephen Pratt, Head of School - School of Tourism School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, University of South Pacific, Fiji

  14. Mr. Tony Smyth, Associate Director, iFREE GROUP (HK) LTD, Hong Kong SAR

  15. Mr. Vadim Tylik, CEO, RMAA Group, Russia